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NEWS AND NOTES FROM PRESS ROW : Whitney girls volleyball on the prowl in new league as Lady Wildcats sweep Artesia


By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

Ole Nervik is now in his 12thseason as the head coach for Whitney High’s girls volleyball team and already is having his best season by far. In fact, he has never guided the Lady Wildcats to a winning season, and only came within a game of a .500 record just once.

But after his team eased past visiting Artesia High 25-12, 25-13, 25-13 this past Tuesday afternoon, the surging Lady Wildcats improved to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in the 605 League. It’s the first time Nervik has won the first two league matches as the now-defunct Academy League had always been rough for the Lady Wildcats. The nine wins are the most for the program since 2012 when Whitney finished 9-10 and the last time the school has experienced a winning girls volleyball season came in 2001 (15-8).

“I’m not really surprised because we have a lot of raw talent,” Nervik said of the rare winning mark. “We’re a little inexperienced, but we’ve been working pretty hard. Our defense is pretty strong, but our offense is still lacking a little bit. We have a couple of good hitters outside. But once we get the two of them together, I don’t know what the limit is.”

One of those hitters that Nervik is talking about is junior outside hitter Skye Garcia, who constantly tormented the Artesia defense. Garcia had a match-high 15 kills with nearly half of those coming in the first set. The Lady Wildcats bolted out to an 11-3 lead in the opening set, then senior outside hitter Taylor Genera reeled off the final eight points as she, Garcia and junior middle blocker Ola Ogan combined for all those points. In the second set, those three again were the main forces, combining for a dozen kills.

“Let’s take Oxford [Academy] as an example, another really strong defensive team,” Nervik said about Garcia. “She’s what tips the scales because she’s going to be able to put the balls away for us. With her and Taylor hitting outside, we’ve got a pretty good offensive fuel there.”

In the second set, the Lady Wildcats raced to a 6-1 lead but Artesia (0-10, 0-2) stormed back and trailed 10-9 following a solo block from sophomore middle blocker Oriana Monis. She was a key part of Artesia’s comeback as she recorded back to back kills moments earlier. But with the score 17-12, Whitney scored five straight points. Then in the third set, sophomore libero Reese Guitche served nine straight points as the Lady Wildcats opened an 11-1 lead and never looked back. Ogan added 10 kills while Genera pitched in with seven kills while the Lady Pioneers were held to 17 kills with Monis leading the way with four.

Artesia, which has been swept in all 10 of its matches, will compete in the Valley Christian Tournament today and tomorrow, then host Oxford Academy on Tuesday. Whitney visits Oxford Academy today before hosting Cerritos High on Tuesday in a battle for first place.

In other girls volleyball action, Cerritos has won four straight matches, all by sweeps entering its Sept. 13 road match at Pioneer High. The Lady Dons (8-2, 2-0) will also compete in the Valley Christian Tournament today and Saturday.

Gahr High (7-3, 2-0 in the San Gabriel Valley League) also has won four in a row, all sweeps, as it visited Warren High on Sept. 13. The Lady Gladiators will be another area team to participate in the Valley Christian Tournament today and Saturday, then will host Paramount High on Tuesday before visiting Downey High on Thursday.

John Glenn High (1-11, 0-2) will travel to Pioneer on Tuesday while Norwalk High was 2-5 prior competing in last weekend’s Whittier Tournament. The Lady Lancers began Suburban League play on Sept. 13 against La Mirada High and will travel to Bellflower High on Tuesday before hosting Mayfair High on Thursday.

Valley Christian High, which won the Kennedy Tournament last Saturday, began Olympic League play with a three-set loss to Village Christian High this past Tuesday. The Lady Defenders (11-6, 0-1) traveled to Heritage Christian High on Sept. 13 and will visit Whittier Christian High on Tuesday.


Cerritos (2-2) @ Beverly Hills High (1-2)-The Dons took one on the chin last week at Adelanto High, getting crushed 79-6. It should get much easier tonight as the Normans have scored 45 points, but only 13 in their two losses. Even with last week’s loss, the Dons have scored 170 points this season.

Gahr (1-2) @ St. Anthony High (0-4)-This isn’t the rematch that many had hoped as both teams are heading in opposite directions. The Gladiators lost their second straight one-possession game, this time a 28-25 setback at North Torrance High last Friday. Gahr did have a 17-14 halftime lead but has been outscored 26-15 in the second half the past two weeks. Last season, the Gladiators crushed the Saints 34-7, but two seasons ago, Gahr was on the short end of a 24-21 first round playoff contest. St. Anthony has been outscored 153-54 and that bodes well for Gahr senior running back Micah Bernard and senior quarterback Jordan Simpson (583 yards, eight touchdowns).

Norwalk (0-4) @ California High (2-2)-There’s no way to put it other than Norwalk’s offense is struggling, scoring just 49 points thus far. Last Friday night, the Lancers fell to Long Beach Jordan High 17-7, but led at the half and was tied entering the fourth quarter. The Condors put up 63 points in an opening-season win at Schurr High and blasted South East High 58-0 on the road last Friday night. California has a strong rushing attack, led by Kevin Romero (412 yards on 54 carries and six touchdowns). The Condors have rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and have 14 touchdowns on the ground.

Valley Christian (1-3) @ Ontario Christian High (2-2)-It’s a rivalry game, so anything can happen. But for the Defenders to get back in the win column, they will need to score, and score a lot. The Knights have yielded 25 points but have been outscored 19-0 in their two losses. On the flip side, Ontario Christian has scored 99 points in its two wins and is led by Ethan Venerable (373 yards on 46 carries and eight touchdowns) and Moses Serrano (238 yards on 31 carries). V.C. fell to Monrovia High 47-20 last Friday night, the second time it has scored in double figures. Senior running back Curtis Walhof leads the Defenders with 342 yards on 66 touches while senior quarterback Hayden Ericks has thrown for 438 yards but has as many touchdowns as he does interceptions-four.